The world of European labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945

TitleThe world of European labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsD.J. Money
Secondary TitleInternational review of social history
Date Published2015
Publication Languageeng
Keywordscopper mining, Europe, labour conflicts, strikes, white workers, World War II, Zambia

This article explores the experiences of white workers on the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia during World War II. Much of the existing literature on the region focuses on African labour, yet the boom that began in the copper-mining industry also attracted thousands of mobile, transient European workers. These workers were part of a primarily English-speaking labour diaspora with a global reach that linked mining centres around the world. The experience of this workforce generated seemingly contradictory trends of labour militancy, political radicalism, and racial exclusivity. A focus on two significant events during this period will seek to examine how these trends shaped events on the Copperbelt: the 1940 wildcat strikes and the 1942 arrest and deportation of white mineworkers’ union leaders. These events shed light on the international world of European labour and illustrate how the Copperbelt was linked to other mining centres around the world.

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key10610